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Cheney Free Press
Cheney , Washington
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November 25, 1982     Cheney Free Press
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November 25, 1982
 

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Page 4A Chenev Free Press Thursday, November 25, 1982 -. Hmong display unique needlework in Cheney By Tom Thrun A unique style of needlework is showing up in stores and craft Shows throughout the Northwest. Bright embroidery and reverse appliques in interesting colors and patterns are being turned out by i Hmong refugees from Southeast Asia. Presently, Cheney has two Hmong families. Working closely with them, helping them adapt to Western society and studying their textiles in return is Cheney's Virginia White. Besides helping to author a historical account of Cheney for the City's Centennial, a work to be released within a few weeks, White also recently finished a small book m the Hmong needlework. The ,book, Pa Ndau: The Needlework of ithe Hmong, can be obtained at the Applique Calico Cat store in Cheney. Ex- amples of the needlework also can be seen at the store. White noted she is particularly interested in the study of women's folkart through textiles. She said the Hmong needlework is es- pecially interesting since it is used to convey the Hmong culture through symbolic meanings. The Hmong people have been immigrating from Laos to the United States since the mid-1970s. Natives of the mountainous areas of Northern China, the Hmong have traveled for over 4,000 years to Southeast Asia, while still retain- ing much of their culture. Known today as the "'Free People", the Hmong have resisted attempts by the Chinese to defeat them. Today, over three million individuals are Elaborate cross stitching and reverse appliques are part of the craft of the Hmong, as shown in this cap. scattered throughout China, Thai- land, Laos and North Viet Nam. Those now migrating to the United States represent the portion of the ttmong people who found- them- selves caught up in the war in Southeast Asia, fighting first for the French and then for the United States against the communist forces behind enemy lines. As such, they also helped to save many Americans. White noted that the American pull-out from Southeast Asia left the Hmong as easy prey for the communist forces intent on revenge. Thailand promised to help the Hmong refugees, but only if they could cross the Mekong River. Exodus trails used by the Hmong, according to Whitc, were laced with mines and snipers, who fired into the darkness when- ever they heard a baby cry. Many Hmong never reached Thailand. Besides fighting off the snipers, many also fell to disease in the lowlands after having lived in the higher elevations. Many of the Hmong who made it to the refugee camps have since found American sponsorship. Here they are starting new homes and new lives, often with no idea of where any of their relatives might be. White said that families in the Cheney and Spokar.e area most likely wi]! spend Thanksgiving with other such families in the Seattle area. White noted that the value the Hmong put on education helps them to adapt to American living. All but the elderly are taking American classes. Reading and writing is t.otally new to a people who have depended on their oral language and symbolic, needlework to carry on their culture. Coslume and accessories play an important role in Hmong socie .ty, aepmt]ng social status ann weaim. Much of the Hmong clothing is similar to that of the Chinese. The needlework of the Hmong women also is an important reflection on her husband. Most clothing is made either of hand-loomed cotton or hemp, dyed a deep blue-black. The dark color sets off the highly attractive and colorful embroidery. Decorative hats are worn by boys and girls until they become adults. It is believed that the hats disguise the children to fool the "spirits" who might take them from earth. White notes, though, that many Hmong women now living in the United States seem to have forgotten the meaning of the hats. Skirts, pants and trousers also reflect much about the Hmong culture. Men's shirts often are short, exposing the lower torso as a concession to virility. Shirts often are decoratively trimmed, as a contrast to their dark, plain pants. A Hmong women's wealth often is said to be related to the number of skirts she owns. Americans are finding Hmong needlework to their liking, much to the surprise of the Hmong. Ex- amples can be seen in Cheney at the Calico Cat store. Other ex- amples also will be on display through Nov. 26-27 and Dec. 3-4 at the gallery in the lobby of the Imex Theatre at Spokane's Riverfront Park. On Dec. 10, a traditional Hmong dinner will be held from 6-9 p.m. at the Shaw Junior High School in Spokane. Adult tickets are $4.50, and children's tickets for those under age 12 will be $2. Native Ihnong foods and clothing will be t eatured. Reservations are to be made by Dec. 6 by phoning White a l 235-4942. :!:iii:!: ..... :?! ....... iii!00 i ?i /i00ii Embroidery Native Asian animals, often portrayed in pairs, are common This quilt can be seen in its bright colors at the Calico Cat in photos by LES SCHWAB NEW TIRE & RETREAD SERVICE  WARRANTY CONTRACT (This is a Limited Warranty) Passenger Road Hazard Guarantee =Free Flat Repair Free Tire Re-Balance Free Tire Rotation Free Air Check ,,Tire Replacement Policy =Cash Retund Commercial ,,Road Hazard Guarantee =Free Tire Rotation Free Inspection =Free Air Check =Tire Replacement Policy Commercial Cash Refund If we can't guarantee it, we won't sell it! 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